Kill it with a spoon!

Creativity. What is creativity – what does it mean to be creative  –  why is it seen in such a low light? Well I suppose at its core, a creative person is someone who has the ability to create something new and unique. I always thought creation was something exclusive to Godlike people[because you know, supposedly ‘God(s) created life’], and that famous artists and musicians are all just born that way and everyone else kind of just had to just.. figure shit out on their own and will never be able to create anything of their own. Well over time I’ve learnt that this is about as substantial as unicorn poop. I realize that creativity is a like a garden, the more you tend to it, the more fruitful it becomes and before you know it, it starts to flourish on its own, but it also diminishes when you stop or don’t take care of it and just rely on being utilitarian – like a machine! – We can use it to overcome many problems in life, in fact that’s ideally what the power of creativity can wield; the ability to overcome anything that comes in our way. So why then is it something that we repress with great effort? How could such a fundamental skill be even remotely considered to have little value..

I think the problem lies closer to home than most people care to realize. It seems that the relentless plague of consumption that has affected our world today may have a part to play in the death of creativity. Trying to understand what a consumer is doesn’t need to be difficult; to consume is to expend or destroy something by using it – not unlike how we consume food. A consumer then is someone who partakes in consumption of something.

What does this has to do with creativity?

The consumption of it is what.

I’m ‘one of those people’ that believes that art should have no purpose other than itself. When art is created for the purpose of consumption and profit, it no longer holds artistic value and what results is artists turning into products which can be packaged for sale to the masses for a profit – the fact that its called the music “industry” is a pretty dead giveaway to their intent (of course I’ll explain either way right?) and that intent is not about creating new art, but rather to make as much profit as possible and fuck anyone who tries to get in the way. As long as people are buying into it, its a good enough reason to keep it going, and its sad to say that what has resulted is a breed of “artists” (decorated clowns) who have resorted to the lowest depths possible to maintain high sales (boring stuff I know but relevant nonetheless) and a society that is unable to see past this facade that they are brought to believe is art, as they’re too engrossed in consuming it, and the truth is – what they’re consuming is just another corporate product. By envoking in a consumer the desire to consume, the consumers themselves are consumed (Michael Dutton 1998). A whole lot of consumption going on here then, everybody just wants to eat – nom nom yum!

You might ask “Why is this a bad thing ‘hurr durr’?”

Well that should be fairly simple to answer

If you think about it again, creativity is about creation, and consumption is about destruction <–THIS

So who stands to benefit from it all? Surely our society would’ve collapsed into itself by now with everyone just om-noming their way through life. It stands to reason then that someone [or a group of someones] – ‘illerminaty oooh’ – has been feeding them to keep them alive for some sort of ends. I reckon it is possible that some super-creative someone devised a method of manipulation(or control) that could never be traced back and would result in complete control of the masses without their ever realizing it; if advertising has taught me anything, its that it doesn’t matter what the product is, they can make you want to buy it, because lets face it, most people don’t know jack shit about what they want from life and are constantly waiting to be told what to do [there are two kinds of people]. But like many creations that involve a lot of power, if anyone were to catch wind of an idea this great they probably would have done everything in their power to acquire it for themselves! <–THIS is actually pretty well reflected in the world today – like the race to space, or nuclear weapons(well…I guess this is the world of yesterday but the point is clear!!). The thought of having control over people – enticing stuff.

This kind of power as has been observed requires a certain kind of obedience or.. consent from people in where they are convinced that they need things that aren’t actually necessary, like…well ANY car at all; like why the fuck isn’t the world designed on awesome public transport [look beyond busses and trains ladies and gentlemen, if this had been developed from the beginning, public transport today could potentially be as personalized as you’d want it to be and you wouldn’t have work to death getting a car(cars have brought nothing but issues and problems to this world like congestion, pollution, social status, oil companies blablabla..)] but yes there are probably a kablamafajazillion examples and instances where you can see that these products have no real purpose in this world and if anything prove to be more questionable than anything; the best one is probably the amount of food produced in 2012 alone was more than the world had ever seen and was enough to feed every individual in the world, yet millions of people around the world still starved to death – and I’m faaaairly certain more-so that this is because it’s simply not profitable to just give food away.

Food Company: HA! No food for you!

If creativity is not profitable it is thwarted and dragged down to the annals of oblivion, and this is a system that only benefits people who are already in high places because it means that people will continue to consume their products while they consume the consumers – and the icing on the cake is they’re more likely not face new competition as they there are no opposing new and better ideas as a result of their murdering of creativity for profit.

That’s right, they murdered it for a buck =(

The capitalists of today remind me of a monarchy.

N.A.S.A. here isn’t the space station, rather a hip hop duo that made an album featuring some pretty amazing musical talents as well as some pretty awesome videos. Check out some of their stuff – iis goooooood.


OP is a what now?

So after reading some of Ted Nelsons writings, I found to my surprise that hypertext is something thats been floating around for a very long time indeed, and that it had put to some shameful use, or rather lack of use. His project Xanadu ( reminded me of Xanatos from the Gargoyles heh) is a software which utilizes hypertext to navigate bits of data and interconnects them in a rather sophisticated and well thought out way.

David Xanatos from Disneys animated series The Gargoyles

I don’t see how this is any different from what our internet has manifested itself into today which I suppose shines a bright light on the importance of this mans work and ideas, however his project Xanadu seems to have fallen into the annals of time and is now long forgotten and in its place the World Wide Web has thrived. The driving idea behind Xanadu was just way ahead of its time(big surprise there),however Ted seemed to have this sense of urgency in that if this idea  didn’t set off right there and then all humanity was to collapse into utter chaos (he was very prophetic in his writing) but the truth is that trying to convince the entire earth to stop what they’re doing and start using computers during a time that computers were just not easily accessible or affordable to most people or even heard of was just not a realistic demand. He should have realised from the start that trying to make such a huge change would’ve required some coaxing into. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

The internet as a culture is a strange thing. Trying to pin the needle on it is like chasing the magic dragon because of its ever changing nature, or maybe thats just it. There are no rules in webspace, only rules that we as humans can try to enforce on each other, but that can only do so much. No, what I find more fascinating is the self governing ability it seems to have.

Created by Andrew Dobson (Tom Preston)

As a resident of the interwebz for some many years,I can personally vouch that this is an everyday occurrence as I’ve been on both ends of the argument. What I find most fascinating is that its resulted in a sort of self directed behavioral management, for instance whenever someone claims “First Post!” they tend to get ousted for being idiots and having nothing better to do with their lives, or particularly the now famous internet meme “OP is a fag”. OP stands for the Original Poster and has become the subject of criticism simply for being one to post something.

   Not to be an ass or anything, but Ted Nelson starts off Literary Machines by being quite the OP    about hypertext. (just sayin)

Anyway back to my point about the interwebz, yeah, people seem to be policing themselves from unsavory behavior, which is pretty interesting – having bad grammar in a youtube post and you’ll get lynched publicly, a screenshot of your shitty english posted on a popular site like 9gag or 4chan and you’ll always be the guy that said that dumb shit. The internet hate machine is restless!

I can certainly see a massive change in terms of content and peoples intellect, the arguments are becoming much more substantial and not just absolute drivel (although drivel is ever present) and the internet isn’t just a stupid place with random shit anymore, people are learning how to behave themselves online and are taking their online identities more seriously without a government telling them what to do or how to conduct themselves (all attempts to try have failed miserably). I’ve only just started learning about politics, but isn’t that sort of like.. the ideal?

I feel like there is certainly a lot  more to say about this, and where its headed, the internet certainly has become a greater power than anyone could have anticipated.

This is probably the one of the best ways to visualize it


Raya Time

It’s been a bit of a hectic week, the Muslim fasting month came to an end this past weekend and as I’m the only non Muslim where I’m staying, by default I took part in the festivities and we had a little open-house and spent most of the weekend cooking and preparing for it. It came to my attention however that in Malaysia, any reason is a good reason to have a holiday. Due to the multi-culturalness of it all or we like to call it “Muhibbah”; the Chinese, Indian and Malay societies have their own very unique set of celebrations, and there is always a massive party almost every quarter of the year and they are pretty ridiculously festive and the best thing that comes out of it is that all the races have pretty much started celebrating each others festivities, like you’d find young Indian men dressed up proper good doing the Chinese Dragon Dance, and then at the end of the year everyone stops to celebrate Christmas. And honestly thats just the tip of the iceberg.

Over here when I found out that Raya wasn’t a holiday because [if I’m not wrong] I thought it was an international Muslim thing, and it was pretty much isolated to whoever decided to have an open house on the weekends. Maybe I’m just fishing for more holidays but I have to admit, it is pretty awesome to have so many celebrations in a single year.

But now I’ve let slip a lot of my work and need to do some serious catching up –

Caught in an infinite loop

So it took some time to get around to it but I finally read up the Argyris and Schön text on single and double loop learning. From what I understand, the reading is about the kinds of behaviors people exhibit and appears to be based on close observation of the way people handle situations. After reading the section on Theories of Action it immediately struck me that this sounded very much like the kind of person that espouses a belief publicly but whose actions contradict those beliefs entirely -Hypocrites- but then I realised that its not really the case here because for someone to be a hypocrite they would have to pretend to have said beliefs and in the Theories of Action, people are described as being simply unaware that their behavior is not in line with or is even entirely contradicting their espoused beliefs. Ignorance is bliss after all.

I feel they described this pretty well-
When someone is asked how he would behave under certain circumstances, the answer he usually gives is his espoused theory* of action for that situation.This is the theory of action to which he gives allegiance, and which, upon request, he communicates to others. However,the theory that actually governs his actions is this theory-in-use.(Argyris and Schön 1974: 6-7)

The point being people generally don’t behave the way they claim to or believe themselves to, and being able to make this distinction within ourselves will allow us to find a congruence between the two “theories so that our behavior better fits our espoused theories, and it is through reflection that we are able to to reveal the theory-in-use.

It feels like a very intelligent way of saying “Stop deluding yourselves you fooools!!”

The way I see it, Single Loop Learning is like trying to solve a problem using methods we’re familiar with and have been using all the time and may not be the most effective, as opposed to Double Loop Learning in which we review our methods and try to formulate new approaches to the the situation as well our methods.


Single loop learning then – my way or the high way –
Double loop learning – take a leap of faith and hope it works out for the best –

The important thing to do is to kind of reverse engineer our own behaviors, which is pretty introspective, and not necessarily the easier thing in the world to do as it requires a certain level of discipline to critically analyse our own  behavior and figure out if our own espoused theories are in fact congruently matched with our theory-in-use.

Well thats my two cents at least.

Peace out.

Fish on a boat

Just some thoughts about the “un-lectures”.

I must say the first day I walked into the lecture theater I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the speech that Adrian gave felt pretty epic and definitely made me look  forward to more of whatever this class could hold, but if time has taught me anything, its to be weary of everything and that I can’t always take things in for their face value. He pretty much talked about what we can sort of expect from the subject,  which seems to be something that defines itself over time, and is in a constant flux of change. What I’ve managed to pull out of it thus far is that we need to be more productive. -biglol- naw I kid, obviously there’s more to it than that. What I’ve managed to get from this Media course so far, is this idea of self driven and self directed work, and learning how to learn, or how to figure out how to figure out how to figure out things. I’ve recently taken a liking to Ken Robinson who is some sort of professional creative, I’m still reading into it, but watching his RSA lecture really got me thinking, what exactly am I capable of? The un-lectures seems to reinforce this idea of being able to appropriately utilize our minds according to the situation, which if I’m honest, has been a bizarre experience for me.

Growing up in Malaysia, we were pretty much brought up in the whole “factory” style that Ken Robinson talks about, where the book is the ultimate law, to go against the book is to go against everything we hold dear in this world. We were divided into two main streams in our final years which were the Science and Arts streams. If you were in the Science stream, you were looked upon greatly because you undertook difficult subjects which required a lot of reading into like biology, physics and chemistry. All the qualified teachers who knew their shit, were assigned to these classes, and the Arts stream is pretty much where everyone else got to go, and that’s where they sent most of their unqualified teaching staff who were not properly trained and were certainly not prepared. I can remember clearly one day in history class, our teacher walked in and immediately yelled at the class “You’re all stupid!”.

Arts students were pretty much left for dead and were assumed to be of no real value to society. I was in the Arts stream myself and I can say that I met some of the most extraordinary people there. Simply because they didn’t have a specific interest in math and science, they ended up spending most of their time at school getting demoralized and getting reminded of what they couldn’t do or achieve. Its sad to say that this is still pretty much the way things happen back home, and I’d very much like to contribute to changing that. I can honestly say it feels like I’ve learnt more in the past half a year in RMIT than in my entire life back in Malaysia.

I digress

So yeah, this whole.. unlecture thing certainly helps strengthen what I’ve already been learning here. I think they were meant to be more of an open sort of discussion, but first of all, its a little too soon for something like that as nobody really has any context to work with yet, so when it came to the second unlecture, it was sort of still just Adrian talking to us,  and second, maybe an hour is kind of a tight space to squeeze something like this into as its a big class and there may be many ideas that want to be thrown around.. so maybe we need to find our bearings a little quicker. We talked about being a boat in the midst of an infinite sea, and learning how to navigate our way through which reminded of something I heard somewhere once that went something like “If you throw a fish in the middle of the sea, its going to wonder what its doing there eventually”, however it seems more that the boat here is the entire classroom [which is a different ball game] and someone needs to be helping navigate this boat full of people. Or is that just the old me being used to having a hierarchy talking. Maybe we could be like a school of fish working synaptic-ally together with some sort of.. hive mind -haha- (or isn’t that what the internet already is?).

I guess its still a little early to say anything for sure, the pretext was good, so I’m gonna stick with it and see where it takes me.

Peace out.

Show the people that we can
Make our magic inescapable
Rewrite the master plan